[EVENT RECAP] Sasquatch!: Day 3
The night of day two was definitely not the best camping experience I've ever had. It rained sporadically throughout the night and the small rain cover on my tent was worse than useless. Plan B: my friends and I crammed inside our car, and slept like slightly squashed logs until we were awoken by the booming of the Red Bull tent at an extremely early 6am.
First up was Tune-Yards, lead by frontwoman Merril Garbus. Merril writes and produces all of her own work, and it is obvious that she puts her heart and soul into it. Her first single "Bizness", released in 2011, has a whopping 4 million views just on YouTube - attention the artist never believed her home-made music would get. The performance was amazing, with painted faces, bongo drums and some epic Haitian dance. It was great to see so many females dominating the stage, drawing in one of the largest crowds of the weekend.
Straight after Tune Yards, it was Sir Sly. I recently saw them on tour with the up and coming, The 1975. They put on a great show, and were my must-see band of the weekend. Their uber popular hit "Gold" debuted on Seattle radio station 107.7 The End, like so many other up and coming indie artists. What I love about Sir Sly is that they sound even better live, which is a rarity in the modern music world. Their live show is fast paced and energetic; driving the crowd along, until the entire audience becomes one massive dance party. I was swept along with the show for a couple of songs, and then I was running off to photograph Cold War Kids.
"I was raised to do great things; I knew the road was long". The road certainly has been long for four piece indie rock band Cold War Kids. They are finally getting the recognition they deserve since doing the hard yards since 2004. Their most recent album seems to have a bit more spunk than most, which could have something to do with former Modest Mouse guitarist Dan Galluci's assistance with the songwriting. It definitely shows in their live performance. They have always been upbeat, energetic, and engaging, but they certainly have a little more "oomph". Their hour long set included all of their hits like "Miracle Mile", "Hang Me Up To Dry" and "Hospital Beds". They also threw in two never-before-heard songs from their soon to be released fifth album. The band gets more and more impressive, and I strongly encourage you to see them live.
Throughout the weekend, there was some serious miscommunication between photographers and event staff, especially at the smaller Yeti stage, and photographers weren't allowed in. This was exceedingly frustrating as I had desperately wanted to shoot Syd Arthur, along with Papa and Banks. The evening kept getting worse, as a heavy downpour was soaked the entire concert, including my camera gear and laptop. And me, and everyone else around me. I took advantage of the break to run back to camp, get things packed up and out of the rising damp.
By the time I had sprinted through thousands of slow-walking stoners (one of the downsides to Washington's legalization), I was too late to enter the photo pit for Kid Cudi. Cudi is no newcomer to the hip hop scene, and has a raft of hit singles and a couple Grammys up his sleeves. His performance was full of explosive lights, and one or two pyrotechnics, as well as a little smoky haze engulfing the crowd. 30 minutes in, and I was off to see Portugal. The Man.
Indie-electronic 5 piece Portugal. The Man has been on a crazy music making, touring, chart topping bonanza for the past 6 years. They have played pretty much every major festival from Sasquatch to Coachella, Lollapalooza to Bumbershoot and more. They released a album a few months ago, titled Evil Friends, produced with Danger Mouse, who has produced bands such as U2, Jack White, Beck and many more successful artists of this day and age. The album already has three hit singles, "Purple Yellow Red and Blue", "Modern Jesus" and the title track "Evil Friends". They opened up with a hip and smooth version of "Purple Yellow Red and Blue", amplifying the effect with hundreds of laser lights shooting out every which way.
Finally, I made my way into the photo pit for Queens of the Stone Age. After waiting in there for half an hour, the lights of the Gorge finally turned off, plunging the entire area into pitch darkness. A single bass strum punched out through the darkness. I snapped few photos, but I was pretty much just overwhelmed with excitement at being so close to living legends. They played all their most-beloved hits, including "No One Knows", "Little Sister", "Go With The Flow", and "Sick, Sick, Sick". The band rocked for two hours solid, and ended their encore with a brilliant drum solo. The venue was starting to look bare, as everyone drifted back to party in the campgrounds, for one last time. My friends and I headed back through the storm of people, passing the dance party at Major Lazer, and speed walked up the hill to the car. The rain began to sprinkle as we drove back down the infamous Silica Road, and soon we were on the winding highway with a four hour drive back towards civilization.
Despite this year's festival being a wee bit unorganized in terms of regulations for photographers, I was able to photograph, and see some of the greatest musicians around. Through the 90 degree heat, the pouring rain, the wind blowing our tents away and the mud caking my poor camera bag, there was no other element I wouldn't have faced to relive that three day adventure. A huge thank you to Willowwood for making it happen, it was truly a pleasure.
Have a look at more photos from the weekend on our Facebook page here.